Crafters January 2015 – Happy New Year

Lyndel's crocheted scarf - a gorgeous pattern available on Ravelry.

Lyndel’s crocheted scarf – a gorgeous pattern available on Ravelry.

A hot day in the Huon, made even hotter by the hubble and bubble in the community hall by about 50 crafters getting on with their business. Sewing machines were producing Chenille under the expert guidance of Pauline, Jacqui was making interesting things with her machine, Leslie was felting a hat and giving advice to potential felters, others were spinning wheels, clicking knitting sticks, stitching quilts or wielding crochet hooks. A couple dropped in to admire the hall and think about having their wedding ceremony there, how gorgeous.

The Buy or Barter table was full of the usual variety of things, from potatoes to wool to fabric to eggs and more. Tony plied us again with great coffee, and thank you to everyone that bought along some nibbles – just fabulous. The Chocolate Wheel was fun, a Nicholl’s Meat Tray and a Tin of Roses Chocolates were won!

Lyndel was wearing a delightful crocheted scarf, the pattern is – at the moment – free download on Ravelry. Quite a few of us are on Ravelry, look for the group Spin Weave and Dye in Tasmania.

Pauline – the chenille ideas are fabulous, thank you so much for guiding us in that.

Lesley crafted a felted hat – here are the pics, start to finish. Note, fully reversible.

Smock by Anne. Beautifully handcrafted Warwickshire 13th Century design.

Smock by Anne. Beautifully handcrafted Warwickshire 13th Century design.

Anna showed  her finished Smock.

A smock-frock, or smock, is an outer garment traditionally worn by rural workers, especially ploughmen, shepherds and wagoners.  They were most commonly worn in the midland and southern regions of England and parts of Wales.  The purpose of the smock was to protect the wearer from the weather and their clothes from getting dirty.  One type of smock is the Reversible or round smocks – both sides of the smock are identical, so there is no obvious front and back.  The advantage of this is that the smock could be turned around if the front became too dirty.

Medieval illuminated manuscripts, such as the Luttrell Psalter, show agricultural labourers working in plain, loose garments similar in shape to the 18th and 19th century smocks that have survived today. The Luttler Psalter was written and illustrated c 1320 – 1340.

By the early 18th century the smocks we are familiar with were being worn, usually by men, and not just for work – very ornate smocks were worn to hiring fairs, for Sunday best or for getting married in.  It is likely plainer smocks were worn for every day work, but it is the ornate ‘best’ smocks which have survived to be held in museum and private collections. (Anna’s is a copy of one of these).

Smocks were traditionally made from unbleached cotton and linen.  Most smocks are cream, beige, stone, or buff, but some regions had their own colours, such as blue (Newark, Nottinghamshire) or olive green (East Anglia).

Smocks were usually made by women.  The fabric was cut in rectangles to avoid wastage.  The ‘smocking’ is the gathering of the fabric, which is then stitched in place.  This gave the garment flexibility and strength where it was most needed – the chest, shoulders and wrists.  Some smocks were oiled to make them waterproof and most have a large collar for extra protection from the weather.

It is believed the embroidered designs on a smock depict the occupation of the wearer and helped advertise their trade at hiring fairs, for example shepherds’ smocks may be decorated with sheep or crooks, wagoners’ with cart wheels or ploughmen’s with furrows.  These designs could well have been passed down the family and the stitching was usually done in a matching thread, although occasionally a contrasting coloured thread would be used.

Enjoy the photos!

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